When people think of the Midwest, many different images come to mind – cowboys and rodeos in Texas, country music in Nashville, college football and southern hospitality in Alabama and Mississippi, and much more. But did you know that the Midwest also has its own unique vernacular and dialect? Midwest slang is often quite distinct from other regional dialects, and it can be difficult to understand if you’re not from the area! Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most common—and unique—Midwest slang terms you’ll only hear when you visit the American Southwest.
Heading One: The Midwest Vibe
From cornfields to small towns and big cities, the Midwest is comprised of a diverse group of states and regions with different cultures and dialects. Each of these areas has its own quirks and nuances, including specific slang terms and phrases that you’ll only hear when you’re there. Not only that, this vernacular often changes from state to state, making it even tougher to get the full Midwest experience without a local guide.
The typical Midwest vibe is laid-back and a bit cheeky. People take pride in their local customs and way of life, and they’ll often make a joke or two in a friendly manner. To fit in with the locals, most people need to pick up a few key words and phrases to really make the most out of their Midwest getaway.
Heading Two: Midwest Slang
The Midwest has a variety of regional dialects and slang terms, from country-specific terms to those heard across the entire region. Here are some of the most common terms you’re likely to hear during your travels in the Midwest.
• “Pop” or “Soda”: No matter what state you’re visiting in the Midwest, you’re sure to hear the term “pop” or “soda” at some point. This is the term for a soft drink, and it’s used widely throughout the region.
• “Y’all”: This term is widely used across the South, but it really shines in the Midwest. This is the shortened version of “you all,” and it’s used to address a group of people in a friendly manner.
• “Reckon”: This term is used widely across the Midwest and the South. It means to think or guess, and it’s often used in place of “I think.”
• “Farklempt”: This unique Midwest term is used by both Native Americans and people in the Midwest to describe someone who is feeling emotional.
• “Ern”: Short for “man”, this term is used to refer to a group of people, usually in a friendly or endearing manner.
• “Gud”: Short for “good,” this term is used widely in the Midwest and is often used as an expression of wellbeing or approval.
Heading Three: A Few Unique Words to Know
For you to get the most out of your Midwest trip, here are a few others words and phrases you’ll want to learn.
• “Nair”: Short for “there,” this term is used mainly in western states like Kansas and Nebraska.
• “Netcher”: Used mainly in Indiana and Ohio, this descriptor is often used when something is of good quality.
• “Gox”: This term, which is used in the Midwest and the South, is short for “girlfriend” and is used to refer to close female friends.
• “Greazy”: Short for “greasy,” this term is common in the Upper Midwest to describe something that is good or excellent.
• “Smizzle”: Common in the Midwest and the South, this term is an alternative to “damn” to express irritation or anger.
The Midwest is full of unique culture, dialect, and of course, slang terms. Knowing a few of these terms can help you get the most out of your travels, as they’ll help you fit in with the locals and make a great first impression. From “netcher” in Ohio and Indiana, to “nair” in western states like Kansas and Nebraska, the Midwest has plenty of unique slang that you’ll only hear when you’re here.